Using a Mistery Tube to foster Understanding of Scientific Processes

The goal of STEM subjects is not only to provide scientific knowledge but also to establish an understanding of how scientifists work, how scientific knowledge is established and why scientists use models and theories. There are so many different approaches to establish this Nature of Science knowledge in classrooms and besides historical examples or interviews with Scientists, I really enjoy having students develop their own models and theories and test them out. This can be done with a Mistery Tube, a Tube with strings that are somehow connected within.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a real scientist? Were you a wondrous kid, always trying to find a solution to a problem, enjoying the inquiry? I bet you were. Children are so full of curiosity and I feel like being a scientist that wonder and curiosity comes back a little. So today‘s experimental post is for all those inner children wanting to find explanations to the world around us.

If it comes down to one simple question, most scientists want to know „how does it work?“ and a Mistery Tube like I built is the perfect way of practicing these skills. Especially the way of building up scientific knowledge by experiments, building models, verifying or dismissing them is trained by exercises like these. You can try it!

Take out a paper and a pencil (you‘ll need a pencil because you‘ll probably erase some of your drawings) and draw how you imagine the inside of the tube. How are the strings attached to another? Now watch the video.

Does your model fit the movements of the strings when I pull them? For each pull you can adjust and specify your model, until, in the end, your model might be a pretty good replication of how the inside really looks like.
It‘s like science. Scientists build models to explain the world around us, even if they can‘t see some parts of it with their eyes (like with atoms, they‘re too small too see with your own eyes and even with most microscopes). They have to rely on theories or experiments and build up a model as close to reality as they can get. With more experiments, more precise methods and new approaches, they gain new insights and are able to revise their models. But sometimes you have to dismiss a model all together, that happens. It‘s not a bad thing, it just means more experiments and theory to go through to find a new, better model.

Did you revise your model of the mistery tube? Send me your ideas via direct message, I‘d love to see them.

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